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Ike's Strategic Mistake to Halt the Sixth Army Group at the Rhine in 1944
  • ISBN/SKU: 9781591141334
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Era: WWII
  • Number of Pages: 320
  • Subject: History
  • Date Available: October 2008
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$34.95 List Price
$27.96 Member Price
Full Description:

In late November 1944, just a day before Lt. Gen. Jacob Devers' Sixth Army Group was to launch a bold attack across the Rhine into Germany, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower ordered a halt to the operation. Such an unexpected opportunity to cross the river, seal off the German 19th Army, and maneuver behind the German 1st Army fighting General George Patton might have ended the war six months early. Until now, few have ever heard about this lost opportunity, and historians have never fully explained why Eisenhower stopped Devers, nor have they analyzed the possible outcome of such an attack. This book does just that, exploring what might have occurred had Ike allowed Devers to cross the river.

Colley judiciously cites the opinions of many high-ranking generals, including Patton, that the attack would have been a bold and likely successful maneuver that could have saved thousands of lives. In rolling out this alternative historical perspective, the author offers insights about Eisenhower that illuminate the potential consequences of his cautious leadership and his rejection of a man he disliked and whose strategy he lacked confidence in. Colley points to Ike's reliance on old friends, sometimes regardless of ability, and argues that the conduct of World War II in Europe was often determined by personal amities and animosities. It is the only book to be written about the aborted action and how politics and personalities intervened to deny an opportunity to shorten the war. Its premise is certain to engage all interested in World War II and its lessons.

Published in cooperation with the Association of the United States Army.

David P. Colley is an award-winning journalist and author who has written for many national publications, including Army, World War II, American Heritage, and The New York Times. Among his books on military history are The Road to Victory, which received the Army Historical Foundation's Distinguished Book Award in 2000, Blood for Dignity, and Safely Rest. He has appeared on the History Channel and Eye on Books. Colley served in the ordnance branch of the U.S. Army. He lives in Easton, PA. 

View the author's website at: 

"The Rhine wasn't crossed until March 1945. Had Eisenhower let Devers make his attack, we might now be celebrating the 65th anniversary of a cross-Rhine attack that quickly ended the war in Europe. Instead, we will soon mark the anniversary of the costliest battle in American history, the Battle of the Bulge." -David Colley's New York Times Op Ed Article on 11/22/09

 Op-Ed Contributor:  How World War II Wasn't Won

Praise for Decision at Strasbourg

"In Decision at Strasbourg, military historian David P. Colley shows Supreme Commander Gen. Dwight Eisenhower at his worst, blindly rejecting a brilliant plan to stick with the "broad front." At the same time, Colley rescues from obscurity Gen. Jacob Devers, commander of the Sixth Army Group, an unsung hero of the European Theater who just might have delivered the Nazis the decisive blow. This is a fresh look at why the Allies paused and gave the Germans a breather late in 1944 when German defenses on the western front were in disarray." Armchair General

"A provocative, fresh interpretation of Eisenhower's controversial decision to halt Lieutenant General Jacob Devers's VI Army Group short of the Rhine River.  Decision at Strasbourg is sure to lead to a reevaluation of the battle within the Allied High Command and how the war on the Western Front might have ended in 1944.  This is contingency history at its best."  —Col. Cole C. Kingseed, USA (Ret.), coauthor of New York Times best seller Beyond Band of Brothers:  The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters

"It is difficult to discover new theories on the military course of the Second World War today, which is why the counter-factual view is gaining in importance.  David Colley theorizes that in November 1944 there had been an unexpected opportunity for Lieutenant General Devers to cross the Rhine and to thrust into Germany, but was halted by General Eisenhower.  Sure to raise new controversy on Eisenhower's handling of the war in Europe, Colley has significantly added to the debate."  —Col. Dr. Karl-Heinz Frieser, Military History Research Institute, Potsdam, author of The Blitzkrieg Legend:  The 1940 Campaign in the West
"This is an exceptionally well-crafted story of high level decisions under the pressures of war.  Colley has written a great book that is easy to read, rich in detail and balanced in its coverage of controversial events whose impacts reverberate even today.  Just when you think you've read everything on the US Army in WWII, think again.  This welcome addition to the historian's bookshelf offers fresh analysis of famous personalities like Eisenhower and Bradley, and will introduce readers to others, like Jacob L. Devers, who deserve much more attention for their service.  This book will fascinate anyone interested in untold stories of conflict and leadership." 
—Lt. Col. Edward G. Miller, USA (Ret.), author of Nothing Less Than Full Victory:  Americans at War in Europe, 1944-1945
"A fresh examination of Allied operations after the liberation of France, Decision at Strasbourg joins the ranks of important books on World War II in Europe.  Colley focuses his attention on the often-ignored 6th Army Group, its French and American units, and its commanders—Jake Devers, Sandy Patch, Lucian Truscott and Jean de Lattre de Tassigny.  As a result the choices made by Eisenhower, Montgomery and Bradley are reexamined and other options are suggested.  Written in a flowing and lucid style, it is a 'must read.


More by this Author

In late November 1944, just a day before Lt. Gen. Jacob Devers' Sixth Army Group was to launch... Read More

Events and Conferences

Keynote Speaker & Signing
Symposium, Texas Military Forces Museum, Camp Mabry, Austin, TX Read More
Speaking Engagement & Signing
Northampton County Historical & Genealogical Society, 107 S. Fourth St., Easton, PA Read More
Speaking Engagement & Signing
WWII Roundtable, Allentown, PA Read More
Featured Speaker & Book Signing
6:30pm, "Book Forum," Army and Navy Club, 901 17th St., N.W., Washington, D.C. / By invitation... Read More
Customer Reviews
1 Review
Average Customer Reviews
5.00 Stars
Thought provoking book on a missed opportunity
Thursday, April 16, 2009
By: Joel Rudy, Maj, USAF
In "Decision at Strasbourg" David Colley examines the denied opportunity for one of the allies less famous generals, Lt Gen Jacob Devers. Colley proposes that General Eisenhower directly ordered Lt Gen Devers Sixth Army Group to not cross the Rhine in November 1944, a full four months before the famed Ludendorff Bridge was captured in the small German town of Remagen. During a meeting during one of the rare General Eisenhower visits to the front lines, he realized the massive preparations the Sixth Army Group had undertaken in preparation for the first major combat incursion across the Rhine. Colley asserts that an adversarial relationship between Eisenhower and Devers strongly influenced the order to remain on the west side of the Rhine. This is an exceptionally well-written book that takes a hard look at a missed opportunity.


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2016 Naval History Conference

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Join us for the 2016 Naval History Conference on 8 and 9 September at Alumni Hall at the U.S. Naval Academy. The Athena...

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San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA

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From the Press

Guest Speaker

Tue, 2016-07-26

CDR Youssef H. Aboul-Enein, USN

Guest Speaker & Book Signing

Wed, 2016-07-27

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